Install ubuntu 11.04 on a Panasonic W8 laptop

By September 1, 2011 February 18th, 2015 IT Stuffs

Panasonic laptops are great because they are extremely lightweight (under 3 lbs), with optical drive, and battery life last 10~15 hours.  In addition, it is a “toughbook” that can handle 100lbs pressure and 12 ft vertical drop.  It is a great laptop for people on-the-go and it will last for a long time for normal usage (not for gaming, of course).  The only downside is that it is very expensive, usually around $2,000 or more.  Luckily I was able to score a W8 for $350 a few months back during a crazy online sales.  It comes with XP and Vista which is a bit outdated and Microsoft OS is not so great for 1028×768 screen.  Hence, I decided to install ubuntu instead.

Install ubuntu is very straight forward.  Just go to to download the latest version, either burn to a CD or make a bootable USB memory stick to install.  Panasonic W8 supports both 32 bits and 64 bits versions.  I decided to go with 32 bits version since this is the version that ubuntu recommends.

After following the on screen instruction and click on next.. next.. ok.. ok… on all the options, ubuntu boots up okay and everything works.  All the function keys work too.  The only thing that does not work is the sound.  The Stereo headphone has sounds and it works fine. However, the speaker has no sound.  I found this is because W8 speakers are mono speakers, not stereo speakers.  One simple modification makes the speaker works.  Here is how:

  • open a terminal
  • type “sudo vi /etc/modprobe.d/alsa-base.conf”
  • add this line to the bottom of the file
options snd-hda-intel model=laptop
  • now, save the file and then reboot.  That’s it!

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